AccessoriesSqueaky Clean: the Right Way to Wash Your RV

Just like any other major investment, you’ll likely want to spend some extra time giving your motorhome proper care and maintenance to keep it like new, and washing your RV to maintain an attractive exterior is one of the easiest ways to ensure it looks the same as it did the day you brought it home. However, there are a few potential hazards to be aware of when creating an RV maintenance plan for your vehicle’s exterior surfaces.

Can I harm my RV by washing it?

It’s important to clean your RV often, as accumulated dirt and residue left to sit on its surfaces can cause damage to the paint and design. Corrosion, staining, and chemical spotting are all potential side-effects of exposure to the elements, and consistent and thorough care can help prevent these issues.

However, not all methods are created equal. For external RV maintenance, automatic car washes are typically not recommended, as the solutions and force can be harmful to the surface. Using water at extreme temperatures or pressures and excessively rigid brushes or tools should also be avoided, even when washing by hand.

Waxing is an important part of exterior RV maintenance, but be mindful of the product’s ingredients. Using a wax which contains high abrasive compounds might remove rust and stains, but they also scrape off the outer coating of paint, leaving your RV dull and more susceptible to future spotting. Additionally, the use of paint thinners, gasoline, or other harsh solutions should never be used to remove tar or other residue to ensure the paint’s integrity.

What should I use to clean it?

The best way to clean your RV is by hand. Parking your motorhome in a spot safe from direct sunlight will help keep any cleaning products from drying too fast, making it an easier and more efficient process. After giving the RV an initial spray with water to remove dust and dirt, use a mild car-washing soap and a soft mitt, sponge, or brush to gently scrub the surface from top to bottom.

Some owners have reported using dryer sheets to remove difficult contaminants, like bug residue, which are gentle enough for painted surfaces. Rinse thoroughly, using extra caution around any doors, windows, or appliance vents to avoid leaking or breakage, and wipe the RV dry with a soft cloth. Be kind to your surfaces, and they’ll repay you with many years of service!

Exterior RV maintenance and safety

Utilizing your RV maintenance schedule for external surface cleaning is a great way to keep your motorhome looking good as new, but it’s worth noting that safety precautions must be taken. To properly clean and wax your RV, you’ll likely spend time on a ladder or the vehicle’s roof to ensure every inch is accounted for, which will require you to work at dangerous heights. Be sure to wear shoes with sufficient traction, and avoid the edges as much as possible. It’s also helpful to have another person present to help anchor your ladder, identify hazards, and keep your hands free when ascending and descending.

Exterior RV cleaning should be an integral part of any proper RV maintenance schedule. Maintain My RV can help alert you when your motorhome is ready for a wash via online RV maintenance checklists and schedules to ensure your vehicle is always in top shape.


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